About Ricky

I’ve been working with computers since I was about 5 years old. Wrote my first BASIC program at 14, and was running a BBS for years before Windows 95 and the internet changed everything for me. I’ve been programming web sites for nearly15 years, and have been doing serious software development for about 8 years. I was in IT for far too long, so I’m definitely a geek. I’ve administered everything from small to large windows based networks, and know Active Directory a little too well. I also administer RHEL servers, and deal with high availability web sites and databases.

In my current job, I’m known as the jack of all things technical. I do full time C#/SQL/PHP/MySQL development, and act as the resident IT guy and network administrator.

Comments
  1. Emperor says:

    u r dumb, obviously apple can’t squeeze sth powerful in mac mini.

    • Ricky says:

      Says the guy who is incapable of spelling two of the simplest words in the English language… “You” and “are”. And what the hell is “sth” supposed to mean? That’s not even a word. And you are wrong. You can simply replace the drive with a SATA II drive, and it would be far faster. The faster drives aren’t bigger in physical size. They may consume more power, but that’s not the point. If you weren’t so stupid, and you actually READ MY BLOG, you’d see that Apple’s site CLEARLY says the computer contains a SATA II hard drive, but they put in a SATA I drive. It’s false advertising.

      A computer is only as fast as its slowest component.

  2. Dino says:

    Are you perhaps a too-educated PC fan who has a better background from which to make a specious argument that Mac is the anti-Christ? You know, in that whole PC vs. Mac thing?

    • Ricky says:

      You are obviously an uneducated (not under-educated) Mac user that thinks that my argument has no basis. Let me remind you, that precious Intel Mac you hold so dearly, is a PC through and through. Then it’s just a fancy looking GUI on top of an OS (BSD) that I know like the back of my hand (Yeah, I’m REALLY un-educated on the Mac side). I never said Mac, or Apple, is the “anti-christ”, nor did I make any statement of Mac vs. PC. This is a simple situation where Apple has thrown a hardware bottleneck into a brand new machine (essentially a PC), and advertised it as not having that bottleneck. I have worked with Macs for many years. Even used to support them at a few jobs back in the OS9 days. This is simply the first OSX Mac I have owned.

      Though, I’m curious what makes you think any part of my argument is specious. Be specific.

      • Dino says:

        Don’t forget that a Honda Accord is simply a Chevy Cavalier with a nicer interface, higher quality, better performance and a longer period of utility.

        Your review and the above comment are both distinctly anti-Mac and telling. Your argument is specious, and can be, because of your background and experience. Few people know the nuts and bolts of a product to know how to counter an argument about such a specific component of a computer. Perhaps there is some truth to what you say about that technical specification but it doesn’t take into account how that allegedly outdated drive technology contributes to the overall machine. Maybe it’s sufficient. We unwashed don’t know, but someone who has had his head inside computers might or might be able to use such a piece of information to promote an agenda.

        What we Mac users do know is that our machines don’t need to be replaced anywhere near as often as a PC (I’ve had 2 Macs for 7 years each. In that time, the average PC user would have had 4 or 5), we don’t suffer the constant annoyance of viruses and malware (even my sophisticated workplace PC network has been a victim many times), and we don’t have to watch as the PC world tries to play catch-up to the ease of use and real-life enjoyment of the Mac.

        We unsophisticated Mac people have all heard how the PC has all the same stuff available and its just as good. Perhaps, but you pay for it, it’s harder to install, it is prone to breakdown and just isn’t as elegant, fun or useful.

      • Ricky says:

        I fully disagree with your PC replacement schedule. I have had 2 PC’s in the last 7 years, just as you have had 2 Macs. You are just not well informed enough to know better. If you took your old PC to someone who knew what they were doing (not the Geek Squad), you wouldn’t have the same issues. I can squeeze more performance out of any set of hardware. Including my new Mac mini with a slow hard drive. The fact is that PC’s are less friendly because they support a whole hell of a lot more software and hardware than any Mac. This, in turn, is why Macs work so well. But that’s what makes them far too simple for someone like me. There’s nothing my Mac can do that my PC can’t (except run MacOS). But there are a whole hell of a lot of things that my PC can do, that a Mac cannot. A Mac is just a PC, whether you want to admit it or not. It’s a PC with hardware carefully selected by Apple, for compatibility with other hardware in the system and MacOS, then a pretty shell wrapped around it. Even then, MacOS is just a pretty GUI (better than any Linux GUI out there) on top of an OS that was written by an open source community. Apple is not to thank for that. They just made a seriously smart decision to use a linux base for developing OSX.

        The only reason you don’t suffer all the viruses is because the Macintosh platform has yet to hit its stride with virus developers. Viruses have existed on MacOS for many many years, and while people think that they are less susceptible, it’s completely untrue. Macs are just as susceptible as any other operating system, to viruses and malware. Problem is, virus developers aren’t going after the Apple world nearly as much as the windows world. Why spend all that time to attempt to infect just a small number of computers? That’s not what Virus developers look for. They look for a big deal… Notoriety. A Mac will not give them that. However, as the MacOS platform gains market share (which I applaud Apple for), more and more developers will write viruses for Macs.

        I am not “promoting an agenda”, other than making Apple make good on their listed system specs, and trying to educate people like yourself who, admittedly, don’t have a clue about what Apple is doing here. The only reason I posted this on multiple blog locations was to catch those that might purchase one, and warn them that Apple is shorting them in the hard drive performance category. How horrible of me to try and protect any consumer from a company who knows that their customers are largely computer uneducated, and will never notice the difference. I don’t care if it’s Apple, or IBM, or Sun, or Dell, or HP, or whoever. No consumer deserves to spend hundreds or thousands of hard earned dollars on a computer that is shorting them technology. I’m trying to help educate people about it. So far, a large number of people have greatly appreciated my findings and that I shared it with them. Then there’s the small minority of people who think it’s just a Mac vs. PC thing…

        I understand the frustration from end users when it comes to windows machines. The problem is that those who don’t know, blame Windows. The problem is not Windows. It all begins at the PC manufacturer when they load their version of Windows onto a hard drive. Dell is a great example. It’s loaded with crap software (bloatware) like a free virus scan trial, and office trials, and all kinds of other 3rd party apps that are simply unnecessary. As a developer, and an IT guy, I’ve found that the two top issues with PC’s when people complain about slowness or crashing, is because of either 3rd party Virus software or unnecessary junk software running in the background. Dell sends a customer a computer, and from the very beginning, it’s slow and trashy. In the IT world, you never deploy a machine with a factory load of the OS, to an employee. You always do a fresh install of the OS. This, by itself, eliminates most of the problems that people have with their PC’s from day one. THIS is where Apple has it right. They don’t take money from 3rd parties to install trial software on machines they sell. This is how companies like Dell keep their prices low, and why Apple charges more.

  3. Aaron says:

    Hey, saw your post over on slashgear and figured I’d post for you here too. My new 2010 mini is negotiating 3gig (so’s the old 2009 mini). I’ve already swapped the drive with an SSD and have the original sitting here. It’s a 5k500 b-320, which hitachi’s site says is sata2. Weird that you’ve gotten two places both claiming it’s sata1. I can’t drop it back in to the new mini easily, but I can connect it to a linux box and do an hdparm to show what it’s really writing at. If apple really did limit it to sata1 in firmware on the drive, at least you know you can swap the drive and get back up to sata2.

    I’ll try to get a few mins to hook it up somewhere for you to verify.

    • Ricky says:

      That’s some great info, and I greatly appreciate it. This just means that now the stories are even MORE Conflicting.

      I bought a 2009 mini 2 weeks ago, and the drive was negotiates at 1.5gig. I returned it because the new one came out and I assumed the new one would have the faster drive. Then engineering got back to me about the 2009 mini and told me that they ONLY ship them with 1.5 drives (even though with the 2009 mini the site also said they run at 300megabytes per second). That’s when I started complaining about the 2010 mini having the same problem.

      I’d love to see the xbench results from your mini with the SSD in it! I ran it on mine and it compared closely to my girlfriend’s iMac, except in the HD department. Her computer BLEW mine away by more than double.

      • Aaron says:

        So I’m starting to think there’s something to this. I might want to go through the hour of putting this drive back in the mini to see what’s up. I hooked that hitachi drive from 2010 mini onto a centos 5.5 system. It negotiated at 1.5gb there too. It claimed to be a
        hts54503 rev pb3a
        There are HTS54503 drives listed on travelstar 5k500.b page

        I hooked up another of the ssd’s like I put in the new mini and it negotiated on the linux box at 3gb (just to verify the linux box I was testing from was solid).

        http://foro.elhacker.net/gnulinux/slackware_130_en_un_macbook_pro_55_problemas_de_configuracion-t293631.0.html
        That link’s got some info from someone installing with the same drive on a MacBookPro.
        ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl 300)
        ata1.00: ATA-8: Hitachi HTS545032B9SA02, PB3AC60Q, max UDMA/133

        Looks like it’s not unique to the mini, but to the drive.

        And now that I think about it, my 09 mini I’ve replaced the drive in too. So I guess they are just shipping slower drives. Useful info.

        I’ll try to get a chance to run xbench on the mini with the SSD later today. It’s one of the slower intel value drives (not the super fast x25’s).

  4. Dino says:

    Yes, an IT guy can squeeze a lot of performance from a typically subpar PC just as a highly trained mechanic can get a Triumph TR6 to run for years. Most of us are not so technically savvy. The PC dies an early death and the inoperable TR6 sits under a cover in the garage. I would guess your machine isn’t even off the shelf but is one you built from components.

    Macs don’t get viruses because they demand a password for installing software. PCs, for some reason, can’t seem to get that. There’s more thought put into protection with a Mac. PC makers are either too lazy or throwing virus scan services some business. Bottom line: I’ve NEVER had a virus nor even heard of a Mac virus. The explanation that “there’s not enough Macs to make creating a virus worthwhile” is bogus. Mac has a larger percentage of the computer business than BMW does the car business. That’s a lot of computers.

    The reality you admitted to, that PCs are loaded with crap you don’t need (and lacks things you do) is what makes Macs better. I can plug any camera into a Mac and iPhoto recognizes it. Printers, same thing. With a PC that can be a nightmare. They’re just not user friendly unless you’re highly trained. Most of us aren’t.

    As for price, a Mac comes with so many programs that a PC doesn’t it makes comparison moot. In keeping with the car analogy, PCs give you a chassis, four wheels and an engine. Mac gives you that plus air conditioning, seats, a radio and a windshield, all for the same price and at better quality.

    • Ricky says:

      Let me rephrase: Apple doesn’t have enough of the market share for a virus to be worthwhile to a virus programmer. Mac still has a small percentage of the market. Virus writers look for headlines. A virus on a Mac won’t make headlines because there’s not enough of a market share for anyone to care. Windows machines make up more than 90% of the world. MacOS only makes up about 6% of that. The share is growing, but they’re not taking over the majority any time soon.

      If you’ve never seen a virus on a Mac, that just proves to me that I truly have more Mac experience than you. What you don’t realize is that viruses don’t come strictly through the OS itself. It’s not always a program you install (asking for a password). Often it’s a vulnerability in an already installed piece of software. For example, Excel. Back in the OS9 days, one of the most popular ways to infect a Mac, and I’d see this quite often, was an Excel Macro virus. Quite powerful if you got infected with one. So, just because you’re required to input your password, doesn’t mean that the piece of software you installed, isn’t a virus or malware of some sort. I agree that the password prompt is a very great thing for software installs. Even with windows 7, it’s an OK button. Too easy for people to just ignore and click OK. You have a perceived sense of security because of your password, but really what you have is a somewhat false sense of security. That password will only save you from installing something you didn’t want to install. When you run an application that you downloaded, ti simply warns you that it’s from the internet. How is that any better than what windows has? Apple’s closed world will save you from many things, but “everything” is not one of them. You do also realize that there are linux viruses that the Mac is 100% susceptible to, right? BSD is not a 100% secure OS, just as ANY OS is not 100% secure, even MacOS. But, since you think that Mac viruses don’t even exist, let me share two links with you:

      Video showing Mac AV software stopping a virus
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/askjack/2010/feb/03/apple-data-computer-security
      A list of Anti-Virus programs specifically for the Mac
      http://www.pure-mac.com/virus.html

      The problem with your car analogy is that the air conditioning, seats, and windshield are ghetto pieces of shit from 7 years ago! I’m buying a 2010 model and want 2010 options (not 2003 options). Apple gives me an 8x DVD rom (standard today is 16x-22x, and the drive in my PC from 3 years ago is 16X) and a SATA I drive (SATA III is starting to become a standard, and SATA II became the standard about 4 years ago). Did your last BMW come with seats from a 1970 model, or maybe seats from a Geo Metro? The problem is, while your perception is that Apple gave you more, they actually gave you less. I don’t see anything on my new Mac that Microsoft doesn’t provide for free. Even Dell is giving away Office 2010 with new machines. Movie editing, photo galleries, office software, media player, etc. What exactly does your Mac come with that a windows machine won’t these days? I sure don’t see anything. Maybe this is where you can specifically educate me.

      What I get is that the Mac is a one stop computer. You walk in, buy it, take it home, set it up, then use it. A PC, being more capable than a Mac, has thousands upon thousands of options and capabilities on top of what the Mac is capable of. I simply have more choices. Think exponentially. Choice brings problems, and lack of choice brings stability. I’ll take choice (aka freedom). There’s a reason I don’t live in communist china. The value of a machine is all opinion, and how it works for you.

      By the way, I plugged my old Olympus camera from a few years ago into my Mac. It didn’t recognize it. I plugged it into my XP virtual PC, and it worked fine without any drivers. My MP3 player does not work on the Mac without special software. Plug it into a windows machine as old as XP SP3, and it needs nothing. Not EVERY device just “works” on a Mac. Making stuff work isn’t the fault of the PC itself (again, misdirected blame) it’s the fault of the vendor making the device. Microsoft can’t support EVERY device out there, that’s why we have drivers. When a company makes a crappy setup for a wireless printer that even I can’t understand, the fault can’t be put on PC’s or Microsoft, or Windows. Fewer devices for Mac, therefore MUCH easier for Apple to support them all. I bought an iPod touch about 8 months ago and installed iTunes on my PC. Biggest piece of trash I’ve ever used. Crashed left and right and locked up nearly every time I would plug the iPod in. iTunes is a great piece of software… Just not on a PC. Should I blame Microsoft?

  5. Dino says:

    Interesting someone boasting of PC-dominance is enamored with “choice.”

    I’ve gotten PC viruses merely by visiting a website. Not even clicking on an ad, just going to the site. Blogs, news sites, nothing is safe to a PC. Macs don’t get those. Putting strange files into your Mac will perhaps give you a virus but I’ve not seen it. Either has the blogger from your first link:

    “I don’t know of any live malware attacking Mac OS X, so you probably don’t need either anti-virus or anti-malware software at the moment. However, this does not mean you shouldn’t run it. If you are a home user, you don’t have to care what happens to your data, but business users do. It may be wise to take precautions, even if they don’t appear to be necessary.”

    So, much like having On-Star, you can get heartburn over something that hasn’t happened and probably won’t. You can scan your Mac hourly but it’s a lot like watering a dead plant. And loading an Excel file teeming with viruses is as likely as winning the lottery.

    As far as PCs commanding the market, you’re probably right. Then again, at one time Ford was bragging that the Taurus was “the best selling car in America!” Um, sure, thanks to all the corporations buying thousands of them as disposable fleet cars. PCs are a similar story.

    If Dell is offering all that on a new PC, it will cost as much as a Mac and, as I said earlier, will not have nearly the life of a Mac. The programs won’t be of the same caliber. Most PCs don’t come with anything that comes close to iLife.

    Ever see iWeb? Amazing. Nothing on a PC like that that I’ve seen. iMovie, iDVD, same story.

    Bottom line:

    1. Macs, for whatever reason, don’t get viruses like PCs do. That’s big.

    2. Macs have a longer consumer-level use-life. That’s huge.

    3. Macs come with more features and programs that people actually use. That’s wonderful.

    I won’t even add how their support is superior. You walk into a Mac store and they fix what ails you. No days on the phone with Mumbai.

    • Ricky says:

      Yes, I have many choices once I have my windows machine. With my mac, I don’t really have a lot of choice. There’s tens of thousands of programs for Macs. There’s likely billions of programs for the PC.

      Part of your problem on the PC is the browser you use, and the OS you’re running. Again, misdirected blame. You blame the PC, when in fact it can be a combination of many things. All of them are software. I do not run virus software, and I’ve been infected only one time. That was 9 years ago. As a web developer, and knowing how to infect people’s computers, there is ALWAYS user interaction when a virus or malware is installed. ALWAYS. Remember, I’m the guy that is capable of writing those viruses, you are not. The thing is all those sites you go to, are malware targeted for the PC, not the mac. Of course you’re more likely to get infected. I go to any site I want to without any fear. You could even send me a site that you’ve been infected from, and I guarantee I won’t get infected. BECAUSE I READ THINGS BEFORE I CLICK ON THEM, and I don’t fall for the “Your computer is infected with a virus, run a scan now?” messages. I also don’t use the most insecure POS browser in the world… Internet Explorer. That is what brings the majority of problems on PCs, and the browser that many malware programs target… Why? Because IE is the only browser to support ActiveX controls.

      1. Macs don’t get as many viruses, because there aren’t as many viruses out there. Virus developers write viruses for the popular platform, Mac is not there yet.
      2. IN YOUR OPINION, and maybe your own poor experience, macs have a longer consumer level use life.
      3. IN YOUR OPINION Mac have more features and programs. But what’s funny is I asked you to educate me on those oh-so-stellar programs, but you didn’t mention anything. It shows you are just generalizing and can’t actually name several things that are better.

      Quite an apophasis you have there. Their support isn’t superior to much. Every time I’ve called them for any help, all they are capable of doing is educating. They don’t actually know anything about the machine itself. Like I said before, I even had to show one of their “geniuses” where to find the information on the hard drive speed. Sounds more like “retards” to me. Actually, it’s just the same as calling Dell and getting some Indian guy sitting at his desk in India, reading from a script. Apple may help clueless apple users how to use their mac, but they are not technical in any way, even their senior level techs don’t know the difference between SATA I and SATA II. I’ve spoken with script readers at Dell that have more knowledge. I called them for an issue with the wireless on my ipad right after I got it. The guy simply laid the blame on the access point I was using. He didn’t give me any troubleshooting tips, just blamed it on my access point and told me to have a nice day. (A $1k business class cisco 802.11n access point). It is nice to be able to walk into a store and get a repair. But I’ve got a laptop from Dell, and the last time I had an issue they sent a guy to my house. Right before the warranty expired, I found some dead pixels on my LCD, Dell sent someone out to my house to fix it. Apple doesn’t do that. Granted I had to pay extra for it when I bought the computer, it was worth every penny, and I still spent less than a Mac. BTW, that laptop is 4 years and 2 months old. It also has a SATA II 7200 RPM drive in it. SO much for your “Mac’s have longer life” argument.

  6. Dino says:

    Sounds pretty anti-Mac to me. Not that you’re biased or anything.

    I mentioned several programs like iWeb, iMovie and iDVD that the Mac has that the PC doesn’t. You even admitted that iTunes won’t work on one of those messy PCs they sell like disposable Chevy Cavaliers. Sure, you could buy Adobe CS2 for $1000 and it will do what iWeb does for, well, free.

    IN YOUR OPINION, PCs are superior to Macs. IN MY EXPERIENCE, Macs are superior to PCs.

    And still, Macs don’t get viruses like PCs do. There’s no way around that. Let me quote your source again:

    “I don’t know of any live malware attacking Mac OS X, so you probably don’t need either anti-virus or anti-malware software at the moment. However, this does not mean you shouldn’t run it. If you are a home user, you don’t have to care what happens to your data, but business users do. It may be wise to take precautions, even if they don’t appear to be necessary.”

    I don’t care if it’s my browser, PC OS, sunspots or the color of my hair. The Mac doesn’t get viruses, you don’t need protection software and you don’t need a computer science degree to enjoy a Mac. You pull them out of the box and they work. Like things are supposed to work.

    Let me know when you get around to using those “billions” of programs available for the PC. Choice can be such a prison. Particularly when 99% of them are bad choices or useless ones.

  7. Nate says:

    Hey, thanks for the Google Maps KML fix. You saved me a lot of time and my sanity. Cheers!

    • Ricky says:

      Hey, no problem! I’m glad to know it was found by someone, and became useful! I was smashing my head against a wall with that issue!!!

  8. Pete (Pierre Calleros) says:

    Interesting read about your Home Automation projects.

    I currently have two OmniPro II set up. I started using X10 around the late 70’s; that said today I am still playing but mostly using all UPB these days. The OPII’s though are still talking to X10 and Z-Wave additonally. I also utilize a piece of software which communicates with the OPII and does its own thing. I’m interested in the HAI software you are working on.

  9. kd555 says:

    Dear Ricky,
    Did you finish your cockpit project? If yes, could you give me the sizes/degrees of your cockpit shell and the places where the instruments will come? Could you also explain to me how I must do it and how much time must I spend total to complete the project? Which material do I need to build the shell?

    yours sincerely,
    Kd555

    • Ricky says:

      Apparently I SUCK at replying to comments. I haven’t been very blog active lately. I had a kid a couple years ago, so of course all my free time has been consumed by that. However, bit-by-bit I have been working on my cockpit project. I have the base finished, and for the past few months have been figuring out the best way to attach some universal racing seats I bought off of ebay. As I am building, I am also adjusting the measurements in my sketchup drawing. I still have a LONG way to go, and now my wife and I are talking about moving, so it might just get put on hold, especially if I have to move the damn thing out of my house.

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